U.S. Embassy in Bulgaria sponsoring gay film festival

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“Everybody’s perfect!” says the poster for a gay film festival sponsored by the U.S. Embassy in Bulgaria.

The festival, Sofia Pride ’11, will feature screenings of Milk and other films in Sofia, Bulgaria from June 1 to 29. The American, German, French, Swiss and British embassies are jointly sponsoring the event.

“The series features one movie selected by each of the five sponsoring embassies, and aims to promote acceptance of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) rights in Bulgaria by examining the different issues and challenges which members of the LGBT community face in today’s world. All films will include Bulgarian subtitles,” a press release says.

The U.S. is kicking off the festival by showing Milk, a film about the first openly gay elected official in California. “The screening will be followed by an after-show party at My Mojito Club Sofia,” the press release says.

The German Embassy is screening Sascha. “The film follows a gay teenager of Montenegrin-German origin who struggles to come to grips with his identity while searching for acceptance within German society. Note: due to security concerns, bags will not be permitted inside the Embassy building,” the press release says.

The French Embassy is screening Comme les autres (Baby Love), about a gay man’s “quest to become a father.”

The Swiss Embassy is screening Katzenball, which “depicts the lives of five Swiss lesbians from different generations.” This screening is also followed by an after party at My Mojito Club Sofia.

The British Embassy is screening Beautiful Thing, the “story of a working-class teen infatuated with his male classmate.”

The U.S. Embassy did not immediately reply to an email asking how much public money is being spent to sponsor the festival.

In October, 2009, another U.S. Mission in Albania also screened Milk.

Then-Albanian Ambassador John Withers led a panel discussion that included American gay activist Elaine Noble, the first openly gay official elected to the Massachusetts legislature.

“The film screening was an opportunity to lend embassy support for full civil and human rights to Albania’s still-hidden gay community,” a press release says.

The embassy also held a media workshop for gay activists. According to a press release, “Afterwards, one activist said: ‘I feel so inspired from all the things that have happened these days…I have forgotten the strong taste of loneliness and fear that have been with me all my life.’”